By Garth Jenson, January 2016
To say I was impressed after standing over my second archery bull taken with my Mathews No Cam HTR in just a little over 2 weeks is an understatement, but let me start from the beginning. In the spring of 2015, I drew two coveted archery elk tags in Utah and Arizona that had season dates stacked on top of each other. Once I found out I had drawn both permits, I knew I couldn’t just shoot on the weekends when I had spare time. I had to dedicate myself to putting at least 100 arrows a night through my bow so I wouldn’t leave any guess work on my end as to whether or not the shot would be true when it was crunch time. I had been shooting my trusty old bow all winter and spring, but the thought of this new bow from Mathews that had almost zero hand shock and was as smooth as silk to draw had me wavering a little bit from my old standby setup. I am not the kind of guy who likes to jump into something last minute, so I kept shooting my old setup and felt pretty good with it, that is until I started having issues with my bow sounding like a rusty door hinge every time I drew it back. I had ordered my No Cam months prior but hadn’t really given any thought to setting it up until after the season when I would have the time to shoot it and get comfortable with it, but now it was the start of my Utah elk hunt and the bow I had practiced with all year would’ve scared off any elk in the surrounding two counties when I started my draw, let alone if I was within bow range.
I made a last minute call to my good friend, Shane Chuning, the only guy I trust with my bow setup, to plead with him to set up my No Cam on short notice. Luckily, he didn’t flinch and got it tuned and ready for action by the next day. I was definitely nervous to start shooting a whole new setup on Thursday and get sighted in to go hunting on Saturday. I was in disbelief at just how smooth this bow was to shoot and how quiet it was during the draw as well as through release. Once I got my sight pins adjusted, I was shooting more accurately with this bow than I was with my other bow setup that I had been practicing with all year. I was on cloud nine and more confident than ever. My only concern was that this bow didn’t have the speed behind it that my old setup had, and at 276 FPS, I wondered if this would be a hindrance for elk hunting. I was hoping with my arrow weighing 415 grains that I would still get good penetration. I have always stuck to the theory that confidence is everything, and I was more confident now than ever before, so I was ready.
The total bow setup with four arrows in the quiver was just over 6 lbs., which is great when packing this bow around for days on end as was the case with my Utah hunt that was right at 20 days. Another important aspect of this bow is the 32" axleto- axle length because for the first week of my Utah hunt I spent a considerable amount of time in a pop-up ground blind which had pretty tight quarters and a longer axle-to-axle bow can be a little problematic when maneuvering for a shot. The ease and smoothness of the draw cycle really came into play while I was cramped in this little ground blind because with most bows, as anyone who has had tried to draw on an animal out of a ground blind can attest to, the 70 lb. draw you had been pulling back all summer now suddenly feels like an 80 lb. draw in those confined quarters. The No Cam has such a smooth draw that this was never an issue.
Finally, when it all came together for me, I made a 35 yard shot on my Utah bull and the No Cam punched a hole through both sides. With one complete pass-through shot, the big-bodied old bull only made it 100 yards before cashing it in. My Arizona bull was no different, with the exception of a little longer shot at 40 yards, but it was the same complete pass-through result. Just like that I had harvested the two biggest bulls of my archery career with my Mathews bow. I have never shot another bow that I can honestly say I would have been this confident with having so little time shooting it. I wasn’t the only one on the Huntin’ Fool team to have phenomenal results with their No Cam this year, John Makoff also harvested an outstanding old bull in Idaho with his No Cam. He buried the fletchings and anchored the 350 class bull with one well-placed 73 yard shot, which just goes to show how deadly accurate these bows are with plenty of kinetic energy to get the job done at long-range. Speaking of No Cam performance at long-range, Gregg Ritz of Hunt Masters and the host of Huntin’ Fool TV smoked a giant 234" Utah Mulie with his No Cam at 82 yards this year. Gregg captured the whole thing on camera, and it is one of the most phenomenal pieces of video I have ever watched. You can get a glimpse of the No Cam in action and watch his tremendous buck hit the dirt by going to the Hunt Masters Facebook page and looking under "Videos." Trust me, you won’t regret it.
This bow came into the market with a lot of hype and high expectations, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that it has lived up to and even surpassed its very lofty expectations. I’m really looking forward to shooting the new Halon this year. It will have a faster IBO speed and will be shorter axle-to-axle. I just hope it maintains the smooth draw and no recoil of the No Cam. For now, I’m just that relieved my old setup decided to start creaking, otherwise I might have been left out of the No Cam Revolution this season!